Fourth time’s (not) the charm: Grizzlies end Knights’ playoff run in teams’ 4th matchup this season

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SILER CITY — Foul trouble and a feisty Clover Garden team combined to knock the Chatham Charter women out of the NCHSAA 1A state basketball playoffs last Thursday.

The Knights had a 19-15 lead at the half in the second-round matchup, but watched their lead trickle away like grains of sand in an hourglass before eventually losing 53-47 in front of a supportive, in standing-room-only crowd in their home gymnasium.

“We knew it was going to be a battle,” Chatham Charter Head Coach Jeff Patterson said following the loss.

The two teams had played three times already this season, but the Grizzlies evened the series 2-2 with the victory.

“I’m proud of the girls. They fought,” Patterson said. “Overall, we had a great season. We finished (Central Tar Heel 1A) co-conference champions and the conference tournament champions. And, like I told the girls, they can’t take that away from you. You’ve got nothing to hold your heads down about. Now, you’ve got to get ready for the summer and go back to work.”

Tamaya Walden led the Knights with a game-high 31 points, but the Grizzlies had an answer in senior Jaclyn Faucette, who poured in 30 to eclipse her 22.2 points per game average. Clover Garden’s Lexie Roberts was the only other player in double figures with 11.

“Clover Garden’s got a great team and they’ve got four seniors, and they’ve got the girl Jaclyn. She leads everything for them,” said Patterson, whose team has just two seniors.

“My girls just didn’t seem like we came out ready to play the second half, and let them get away from us,” Patterson said. The visitors outscored their hosts, 38-28, in the second half.

“And then we picked up these tick-tacky fouls, reaching and going on, and then we get in foul trouble, and now we’re on the bench,” Patterson said. Starters Delana Loflin, Mackenzie Brooks and Meah Brooks, and sixth-man Lillian Jones each fouled out.

Clover Garden got the better of the Knights on rebounds and second shots, which stifled a fourth-quarter comeback bid.

“You’ve got to rebound the basketball, something we preach on every day,” Patterson said. “But sometimes the ladies think the ball is going to bounce to them. I try to tell them rebounding is an attitude. You’ve got to want to go to the rebound. You can’t just be out there going, ‘Oh, I’m a magnet. It’s just going to fall into my hands.’”

Prior to the game, Patterson instructed his team that there would “be no gimmicks or gadgets” in the game.

“The team that does the little things the best is going to win the ball game, and give credit to Clover Garden. They did the little things that they needed to do to win the ball game,” Patterson said. “So hats off to them and good luck to them on Saturday.”

The Grizzlies went on to fall to the No. 4 Northside-Pinetown Panthers in the third round on Saturday.

While acknowledging the sting of a loss to a team they beat twice this year, Patterson is already looking ahead to next season.

“I’ve got my main core, my three guards coming back. That’s great to have, knowing that you’ve got three veteran guards coming back to handle the ball,” Patterson said. “Now we’ve got to work on getting some post-play down inside.”

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